URLs du Jour

2019-02-15

[Amazon Link]

  • Pun Salad is no fan of crony capitalism, and there was plenty of that in the now-defunct deal to put an Amazon HQ in Queens, NY. But Seth Barron, writing in City Journal makes some interesting points: Critics of Queens Amazon deal have preserved stagnation and called it progress.

    Opponents claimed that the incentives offered to Amazon were unfair, and they have a point: most corporate subsidies are ineffective and wasteful. But Amazon wasn’t being offered anything obscene. Job-creation tax incentives are written into state law and are available to any company doing business in New York, and represent foregone taxes on income that otherwise wouldn't exist. And the local politicians crying loudest have never squawked about the $420 million in transferable tax credits that the state gives every year to the film and television industries. Why would they? Many take major campaign contributions from the studios based in their Queens districts. “I hope this is the start of a conversation about vulture capitalism and where our tax dollars are best spent,” city council speaker Corey Johnson, a 2021 mayoral hopeful, said in a prepared statement. He has received substantial contributions from film and television industry executives, too, and has never complained about the Empire State Film Tax Credit Program.

    Dear Mr. Bezos: I'm sure you'll wind up on your feet, even if those feet don't land in Queens. If you can get along without state and local handouts, New Hampshire is nice.

    Philip Greenspun also has his usual amusing observations on the topic. What stuck with me was this comment: “It is a dark day when small retailers in NYC are denied the opportunity to pay the expenses of their largest competitor.”


  • George F. Will's column this week observes that Progressives are emulating Trump — and reality is leaking from American life. Exemplified by the Green New Deal (GND):

    Every endorser of the GND thereby endorses its claim to life-or-death urgency, yet — cognitive dissonance alert — every endorser knows that none of it will happen. Its authors say, “There is no time to waste.” Strange. The last Democratic administration, which departed just 25 months ago, proposed approximately none of what the GND says we cannot survive without.

    The GND has no practical importance but much significance. First, it underscores the rise of the politics of gestures that are as flamboyant as they are empty: President Trump has his wall, the left has its GND. Second, it reprises the progressive desire to militarize everything but the military, to conscript everyone into vast collective undertakings that supposedly justify vast excisions from personal liberty and the setting aside of pesky constitutional impediments. See President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s call in his first inaugural address for power “as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.”

    And, finally: "the GND reveals progressives’ embrace of Trump’s political style, a stew of frivolity and mendacity." Hey, you gotta go with what works in these stupid times.


  • The Bulwark is a collection of anti-Trump conservatives mostly collected from the ruins of the Weekly Standard. So far… eh, it's not that interesting (even though you'd think I'd be in their target audience). But this article from Liz Mair rang the Google LFOD alert: William Weld Could Make 2020 Interesting. Here’s How. Specifically, Liz thinks Weld's got a shot to make a splash in New Hampshire:

    Weld is well-known in the state whose motto is “Live Free or Die,” and he undoubtedly has better currency there, because of all these factors plus one more: He was the 2016 Libertarian vice presidential nominee in a year when the Libertarian ticket got about 3.3 percent of the vote nationwide and 4.2 percent in the Granite State itself. Tack on some aggrieved #NeverTrumpers who voted for Clinton in 2016 but will play in a GOP primary contest in 2020, plus independents and moderate-to-libertarian Republicans who have fond memories of Weld, and it’s pretty conceivable that Weld could get to 10 percent or higher.

    Liz's argument also relies on Weld's being Massachusetts governor over twenty years ago.

    I have no burning desire to vote for Weld in the NH primary, because he's an opportunistic, unprincipled, flake.

    But I probably will, because he'll be running against a different opportunistic, unprincipled, flake.


  • Also on the LFOD front: the Buffalo [NY] State Record looks at Black History and religious progress. Reproducing an 1860 letter to the editor in the New York Daily Tribune from "An Old Republican":

    [W]hile we adjured the God of Hosts to witness our resolution to live free or die, and imprecated curses on their heads who refused to unite with us in establishing the empire of freedom, we were imposing upon our fellow-men, who differ in complexion from us, a Slavery ten thousand times more cruel than the utmost extremity of the grievances and oppressions of which we complained.”

    Indeed.